What in the world is Music Research For?

The Tuesday Research Series in Music

 4pm, Large Music Room, 80-82 Bedford Street South

 2 May 2017

Nicola Dibben (Department of Music, University of Sheffield)

 What in the World is Music Research For? Music amid the Global Humanities

The study of music, and the arts and humanities more generally, seem under threat: marketisation of students, reduced presence of arts and humanities in earlier stages of education, funding focused on business and societal challenges to which arts and humanities can seem to have little relevance. In this presentation I ask whether music research can (or does) offer a critical humanistic approach which addresses global problems relevant to the twenty-first century. By way of answering this question, I critique three examples from my own research experiences: an empirical study of emotion in music performance, its contribution to human flourishing, and how findings might transform pedagogic practice in elite music institutions; a theoretical and music analytical study of how musical multimedia by Björk expresses human connectedness with the natural world and technology; and an ongoing critical humanist reflection on digital music culture focusing on recorded music in new media objects (including VR). Taking these examples I examine the extent to which music research can be more than an observer of the social, economic and artistic life worlds. 

Nicola Dibben is Professor in Music, and Director of the Humanities Research Institute, at the University of Sheffield, UK. Her publications include the co-authored Music and Mind in Everyday Life (2010) and monograph Björk (2009) that lead to a collaboration on the artist’s multi-media app album, Biophilia (2011).